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It’s never too early to think about Christmas!

Christmas! Really?!

Yes we know it’s only summer but you know how quickly time flies. And with the rising cost of living in the UK , we think it’s more important than ever to plan ahead for the things that are important to us. Which includes Christmas.

Many of us try to avoid thinking about Christmas because it’s an expensive time and we just can’t face it. Which is even more true this year.

But with a bit of planning, it is possible to have a fantastic Christmas and keep your finances under control. 

Here’s how.

Six steps to prepare for Christmas 2022

Follow our six steps to prepare for Christmas 2022 without breaking the bank.

Decide what you’re doing

This sounds horribly premature. But unless you know where you are going to be at Christmas, you won’t quite know how to prepare for it. For example, if you are hosting Christmas for guests, you need to think about food. But if you’re going away then you don’t. 

Making plans early also gives you the best chance of having the Christmas you want. If you want to host, get your invitation in first before anyone else has the chance!

Set limits on Christmas gifts

Let’s face it. Gone are the days when we can all buy endless presents for everyone we know. We all feel the same but no-one wants to be the first to admit it. So be brave. Have the discussion with families and friends and agree on a Christmas gift strategy. Who is buying presents for whom, and what is the spending limit? That may sound a bit clinical. But it can really take the pressure off and enable you to enjoy shopping without worrying whether or not someone will get you a gift and/or how much others are going to spend.

Make a Christmas budget

Now you’ve got a clear idea of where you will be and what gifts you need to buy for Christmas, you can make a budget that includes all the money you need to spend. Your budget should include:

  • Gifts;
  • Cards;
  • Wrapping paper;
  • Postage;
  • Decorations;
  • Food and drink;
  • Parties and social events;
  • Travel and accommodation.

Be as realistic as you can about how much you think you need to spend on all the above. You may be horrified at the result! But the good thing about planning early is that you have time to sort things out. 

Read on to find out more.

Divide up your Christmas spending

You now need to divide up the money you plan to spend on Christmas so that you spread it out over a number of months.

The easiest way to do this is to divide the money you need to spend by the number of months remaining. Then put that money aside. So, for example, if your Christmas budget is £800 and you start planning in July, you have 6 months to find that money. So you need to put aside £125 per month.

The big question then is, what if you don’t have enough money to put aside for your Christmas budget? Let’s take a look.

Find ways to balance your Christmas budget

Another good reason for starting to plan Christmas early is it gives you time to sort out your money. If you don’t have enough to put aside for Christmas, it’s better to know that now. Otherwise you could get stuck in December and have to use a credit card or quick loan to help you out.

So if you don’t have enough money for the Christmas you want to have, you either need to rethink your plans or try to raise some more money.

  • Rethink your plans

Take another look at your budget. Think carefully about whether everything on the list is really necessary? If so, does it have to cost that much or could you go cheaper? After all, the most important thing is spending time with those you love, not throwing money around.

  • Raise more money

If there’s still a financial gap that you need to fill, you have plenty of time to start raising a bit of extra cash. You may want to consider changing jobs, taking on additional work on top of your job, selling stuff on eBay, creating and selling home-made products, or offering services locally such as babysitting, pet sitting or odd jobs.

 If you keep in mind your goal of a wonderful Christmas, it will be worth the effort.

Start your Christmas shopping

Whatever stage you are at with your budget, it’s also a good idea to start your Christmas shopping as soon as possible. This gives you plenty of time to think about gifts that people would really like, and find the best possible price. You can even wrap them as you go, to save that mad wrapping frenzy in December. 

Keep a record of everything you spend, so you can deduct any money you spend from the money you are putting aside for Christmas. Then your gift spending won’t dip into your normal budget.

You can also look out for bargain Christmas decorations on sites such as eBay. Summer is a time when manufacturers may be clearing out old Christmas stock ready for the new season; and individual sellers may be having their own clearouts too. Definitely worth a look.

And if you are hosting Christmas this year, why not start to build up your food and drink supplies? Just buying one extra item each week – for example tinned or dried food, chocolates, drinks, bottles and jars – can soon make a difference. Squirrel it away in a Christmas box somewhere cool and you will build up a nice supply of goods. Just double check the dates of items you buy to make sure they will still be ok in December.

So, even though it’s only summer, we hope that this article has helped you think about the things that you can do now to prepare for a wonderful Christmas 2022.

Do check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.